Friday night before Saturday's rainforest excursion, Katy wasn't feeling well, so I went to a nice bread shop to buy her a banana muffin for dinner (or breakfast). A Chinese woman must've overheard me speaking Chinese to the attendant. Intrigued, she rushed over and began rattling off sentences. After I got her to slow down, I could finally understand what she was saying.
"This bread shop is the best in the prefecture," she raved. The bags she clutched against her body bulged with muffins and bread, proving that she meant every word.
"You hungry?" I asked, nodding at the bags and flashing a smile to let her know I was joking.
"No, I have three children that have to eat," she said, smiling politely but not quite getting the joke.
"Do you work here at the shop?" I asked. I prayed that this conversation would stay within the range of my vocabulary.
"No, I work outside the city, in the country. My kids and I live here in this building, on the third floor above this shop. I come here almost every day. It's the best bread shop in the prefecture." She was beginning to sound like a paid advertisement; I guess she genuinely loves the shop that provides food for her children on a regular basis.
Realizing that the conversation would be difficult to carry much further, I said goodbye and left the store with her smiling after me.
Saturday, walking the trails at the rainforest I saw a woman wearing a round rice-worker's hat and colorful clothes. She looked familiar; a lot of people do in China. I did a double-take, and I finally met her eyes. It looked just like the woman from the store, but I wasn't sure until she said in Chinese, "Hello, I met you last night at bread shop." I stopped and talked for a moment before catching up with my group.
What are the odds that she worked at the sprawling rainforest park and walked on the same path at the same time? It's a small world, one over which God maintains control. I hope she was somehow blessed by the deja vu experience.